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Dear Mino

Happy Birthday, Mino. I turned 50 in June, and you became 46. Kyle is 16 and Nicole is 12. They are just like how we were at that time.

As we are deep into summer, morning glories and sunflowers are growing in my garden. Do you remember we planted them to observe and record how they grew for summer homework? Nicole brought back grass seeds planted in a water bottle from school. Grass seeds?! Not exciting at all, right? What a heck... I said. Bravo, Japanese education system!

For my 50th birthday, John planned a party for me. My friends whom I have known over 20 years since I landed in this country and their husbands gathered at a nearby restaurant. Kids asked me “So, Mom. A half of your life is over, how do you feel? (chuckle)” I answered “Well, I feel as if I still have another half to go.” As I am fully content how I spent the last 50 years and wonder what else I should do before my time comes to the end, I thought I should read more books.

Kyle reads lots of books fast. He reads the same books again and again. Nicole reads less books but slowly, and she understands each book deeply. Any book that she recommends to me has been always a good book, like “BFG” and “Wonder.” She noticed I am spending more time on reading lately and told me to read “Flowers for Algernon.”

I remember that I was back and forth in an email thread with Irumi (who has been helping me with “Mino business”), we discussed that it was hard to understand the young generation’s behavior, it seems they are lacking of “imagination.” She said “Lack of imagination comes from the fact that they have not read books growing up.” It totally makes sense. You need “imagination” in order to understand and enjoy a story or even an essay. “Flowers for Algernon” was indeed such a book to foster one’s imagination.

I enjoy reading books written for teenager/young adults in English since I can imagine how my children will grow and experience things in this country, which is different from my own experience growing up in Japan. While reading, I find myself being back at that age, feel like living in the story with all the characters. I can’t even knit once I am deep into the story. Many parents complain kids read less once they have their own phone, but I believe they will never forget the fun of reading and it can come back to them when it needs to or when they want it to.

That’s my thoughts on my 50th birthday. How about yours? Oh, I am happy to tell you this; Kyle says he will read “Gurindji Journey” this summer. Let's see what he thinks of your work.